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Making podcasts skimmable since February 2018. 
#11·April 27, 2018 · By Michael Yessis
We go deep with true crime pods and the arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer. We also tweak the newsletter’s format again based on your feedback. Thanks so much for your thoughts and suggestions. Keep 'em coming.

If you like The Week in Podcasts, please pass it along to someone else who might like it, too. Thanks for reading!

8 Pod Takes: Provocative Thoughts From This Week's Podcasts

1) “Nothing cuts tension better than Rick Astley.”

Listen: Love Letters: The Night I Became Roy Orbison (3:35)

  • So says Patrick Garvin, maker of song mixes for people who’ve been dumped. The episode explores “the healing power of music after a breakup.”

  • A “breakup mix is a Trojan horse for letting someone know they’re not going through it alone,” says host Meredith Goldstein.

  • Here’s Garvin’s go to Astley song.

  • My promise: I’m never gonna Rickroll you.  


2) “We had to wake up and watch Fox & Friends, which is something I would not wish on my worst enemy.”

Listen: Pod Save America: “It’s your Justice Department!” (1:47)

  • Cracks Dan Pfeiffer, about Trump’s interview on the Fox News morning show. His ramblings gave political pods material to fuel panel conversations for weeks.

  • Or at least until the next thing happens in … a few hours?

3) “You have to let people be disappointing.”

Listen: It's Been a Minute With Sam Sanders: Meg Wolitzer on “The Female Persuasion” (16:33)

  • That’s Wolitzer, author of book-of-the-moment, “The Female Persuasion,” being persuasive about why some of her characters annoy each other -- and readers.

  • My take: That's life.


4) “Usually children's books challenge us to be better, and adult novels don’t really do that anymore.”

Listen: Ministry of Ideas: Child’s Play (24:04)

  • The insight comes from Christina Phillips-Mattson, children’s literature scholar and guest on this terrific pod exploring why we shouldn’t be dismissive of adults reading “Harry Potter” and others books primarily marketed to younger readers.

  • “When you finish a children’s book...most of the time you’re not holding an object that’s morally neutral,” says Phillips-Mattson.


5) “There is a rhetoric...of panic right now. Something has gone wrong at a level that is almost unique in American political history.”

Listen: The Ezra Klein Show: Is American democracy really in decline? A debate. (19:27)

  • So says Klein, who cops to being part of the problem at times.

  • This episode isn’t part of it. It’s a welcome, sober, fact-filled discussion about just how panicked we should be.


“6) Do you think that 18 million people moved here because of Hollywood?”

Listen: The Indicator from Planet Money: 3 Things You Didn't Know About L.A. (2:36)

  • That’s NPR’s Sonari Glinton, repping the economic diversity of Los Angeles.

  • The Indicator spends the week reporting stories from a city that’s as much “There Will Be Blood” as it is “La La Land,” says host Cardiff Garcia.

  • Biased newsletter maker from L.A. says: “Tell ‘em, guys.”


7) “Aren't we in the post-4/20 world at this point?”

Listen: The Press Box: Trump and Haberman, LeBron’s Sideline Interview, and the Meltdown at Harper’s (1:10)

  • David Shoemaker’s tired of the media’s 4/20 obsession.

  • He adds: “If we’re at a point where professional athletes are smoking weed on camera for sports media outlets, aren’t we past the point where we need to peg this on, like, national elbow-you-in-the-ribs, tee-hee, weed-smoking day?”

  • My take: Yes.


8) “We are New York City public high school graduates. And that is like Navy SEAL training for roasting people.”

Listen: The Bill Simmons Podcast: NBA Craziness Plus the Return of Desus and Mero (1:34:33)

  • Viceland’s Desus & Mero know their edge. You’re warned.

Got a Pod Take, a show to binge or a great guest I should consider for next week’s newsletter? Send it!

Go Deep

1) The Golden State Killer

Listen: My Favorite Murder, Generation Why, Crime Writers On…

  • It’s a justified nine fucks, two shits intro for Karen and Georgia on My Favorite Murder. Like everyone in the true crime podcast community (and all of humanity, presumably), they’re blown away by the arrest of the Golden State Killer.

  • Background: A decades-ago string of unsolved murders and rapes in California became an obsession for writer Michelle McNamara. She tragically passed away before publication of her book on the GSK, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.” The book became a bestseller, and helped lead to this week’s arrest.

  • Crime Writers On… commemorates the moment with the release of its inaugural true crime book club pod about IBGINT, and a second pod reacting to the arrest.


2) The Struggle for Equality in Global Women’s Soccer

Listen: Planet Futbol with Grant Wahl (Part 1, Part 2)

  • A panel discussion comprises this two-part pod about the status of women’s soccer worldwide.

  • Panelists: Jean Williams, Shireen Ahmed, Gwendolyn Oxenham.


3) “Mr. Brightside”

Listen: Punch Up the Jam

  • PUTJ goes deep on The Killers’ classic.

  • My take: Stop it. The song needs no punch up.


4) “Put Your Money On Me”

Listen: Song Exploder

  • Arcade Fire’s Win Butler takes 22 minutes to break down his band’s song and declares his love for the 808.

  • His other inspirations: Marvin Gaye, Harry Nilsson and ABBA.

Guest Appearances By...


Burgess, Tim This Must Be The Gig

  • The Charlatans frontman once put a headlock put on Iggy Pop.

Burke, Tarana WorkLife with Adam Grant

  • Founder of #MeToo movement appears with Ronan Farrow and Ashley Judd.

Crosby, David Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin

Danner, Blythe The Goop Podcast

  • Gwyneth and her mom on mothers and daughters.  

Farrow, Ronan The Josh Marshall Podcast, The Gist, WorkLife with Adam Grant, Stay Tuned with Preet

  • So. Much. Pulitzer. Winner.

Gawande, Atul Freakonomics Radio

  • Surgeon/professor/writer for The New Yorker on the state of health care.

Gay, Jason House of Carbs

  • WSJ sports columnist tried to eat at a nice restaurant accompanied by children, talks about it.

Green, Seth Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard

  • Actor talks zero gravity and working with bears.

Hader, Bill The Watch

Inslee, Jay Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air

  • Gov. of Washington on decarbonization, standing up to Trump.

Jacobson, Abbi Modern Love

  • “Broad City” actress/writer reads an essay about a carboholic.

Judd, Ashley WorkLife with Adam Grant

  • “Silence breaker” talk’s #MeToo with Ronan Farrow and Tarana Burke.

Kendzior, Sarah Otherppl with Brad Listi

  • Convo with the author of “The View from Flyover Country.”

Manning, Chelsea Talkhouse

  • In conversation with Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokno.

Martin, Giles The Bob Lefsetz Podcast

  • Convo with legendary producer George Martin’s son.

Nissenblatt, Arielle Bitrate

  • EarBuds Podcast Collective founder talks about the power of listening.

Oswalt, Patton Maltin on Movies

Payne, Alexander Cooking by Ear

  • Make vegetable gratin with the director of “Election”/former Chez Panisse intern.

Riggle, Rob The Adam Carolla Show

Robinson, Phoebe Comedy Bang! Bang!, Late Night Whenever with Michelle Buteau

  • On the beginnings of “2 Dope Queens,” a visit to a hot tub.

Ross, Tracee Ellis Ted Talks Daily

Schumer, Amy Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

  • Oprah goes 64 minutes with the comedian/actress/author.

Sinclair, Ben Late Night Whenever with Michelle Buteau

  • Convo with the “High Maintenance” star.

Smith, Ben The Jamie Weinstein Show

  • Buzzfeed’s EIC talks politics, defends publishing the Steele Dossier.

Srinivasan, Balaji Conversations With Tyler

  • CTO of Coinbase on the promise of the blockchain.

Tapper, Jake Fresh Air

Thile, Chris You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes

Thompson, Nicholas The Tim Ferriss Show

  • Convo with the EIC of Wired.

Tolokno, Nadya Talkhouse

  • In conversation with Chelsea Manning.

Vande Hei, Mark Radiolab

  • The astronaut dials in to the pod. From space.

Whitford, Bradley WTF with Marc Maron

  • “If you’re good and you want it, maybe you won’t be an actor, but you can have a life in storytelling,” says the actor.

Winkler, Henry The Watch

Yorn, Pete Celebration Rock

  • Musician talks about his upcoming collaboration with Scarlett Johansson.

Zhao, Chloé The Treatment

  • Convo with the director of “The Rider.”

One Podcast That Mesmerized Twitter

The Habitat

Gimlet’s seven-part pod about six volunteers living in an imitation Mars habitat dropped last Thursday. Listeners are still digesting it. Also, they have feelings.

  • “Stop what you're doing and listen to The Habitat by @Gimletmedia. Most bingeable podcast since Serial.” — @mentink21

  • “It sure is a podcast about six people who do fuck all for a year.” — @ThePodReport

  • “I literally threw my headphones across the room. Lookin at you @Gimletmedia. I loved Habitat but the chewing was TOO MUCH” — @Bazteki

  • “Highly recommend if you like science, claustrophobia and gossiping.” — @pageantmalarkey

  • “i never thought i would be into a podcast about space and rockets and @NASA but turns out: i just needed @LynnRLevy.” — @almutheva

Pick From a Podcaster

This week’s podcaster: Adela is founder of Podcast Brunch Club, which is like book club, but for podcasts. The PBC podcast is a podcast version of the monthly conversations that are happening at Podcast Brunch Club chapter meetings IRL all over the world.

Adela’s pick: The Moth Radio Hour: Surviving Being Human

  • Adela says: “The episode includes stories about overcoming adversity, fear, and the power of the human spirit. The second story wrecked me. When given an opportunity to find out about his past, he asked, ‘My mother?’ and his voice cracked as he told the audience about that conversation.”
  • She adds: “That was the moment during his story that I got the chills and tears welled up in my eyes.”

Are you a podcaster who’d like to be featured? Let me know.

Notable New Podcasts


The Dave Chang Show

  • A food and culture pod from influential chef/aspiring media mogul Dave Chang.

  • “Dave and a rotating cast of smart, thought-provoking guests talk about their inspirations, failures, successes, fame, and identities.”


How It Is

  • A pod from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine media brand, where “women tell our own stories, in our own words, and share the truths we've learned and lived through.”

  • Diane Guerrero hosts.


We Came to Win

  • Gimlet’s first sports pod focuses on the stories of “the greatest moments of the World Cup.”


The Infinite City

  • “[S]tories of people and place, design and belonging, survival and celebration.”

  • The first six-episode season focuses on Belfast.

Thanks for reading! Find us on Twitter @WeekInPodcasts.

Copyright © 2018 Michael Yessis, All rights reserved.

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